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Q Is there any harm in delaying the marriage?

A

It is harmful for both men and women. Without doubt, marriage is Sunnat but it becomes Wajib if there is a chance of committing a sin. The following are examples of some scenarios and possible solutions:

If the delay is due to perplexity in selecting the spouse -

  • Remember that just like anything else, married life also has its physical and spiritual dimensions. Allah (swt) not only guaranteed relief from financial worries but also took care of the spiritual dimension by promising in the Qur'an (30:21) that He (swt) will develop love, compassion and mutual respect of each other after marriage. Thus Nikah is the catalyst in bringing about happiness in married life. That may be why, Rasool 'Allah (sa) declared that whoever refuses to follow his (sa) sunnat of "Nikah" has nothing to do with him (sa).

  • For spouse selection, Islam not only permits but also encourages that prospective couples talk with each other and become familiar with their rights and responsibilities and "dos and don'ts", preferably under the guidance of a religious scholar. In dating and similar situations, on the other hand, a man because of his natural inclination towards sexuality and a woman because of her thirst for love, become victims of tunnel vision and end up marrying without realizing the difference between infatuation and love. The high rate of divorce in Western World is indicative of the fact that current expectations of "love" and "compatibility" before marriage may be unrealistic. Love and compatibility develop as a process and require the effort of the husband and wife in particular, and their parents and siblings in general, because unlike Western Society, in Islam the concept of "family" is not limited to husband, wife and children only but includes parents also. Of course, Allah (swt) makes the sincere efforts fruitful.

If the delay is due to financial difficulties or a perception of it -

  • Allah (swt) ordered us not to postpone the marriage because of the worry of financial difficulties. Allah (swt) promised that after marriage He would lift this burden.

  • A practical solution is to place a higher priority on the continued education of the newly-wed couple even after their marriage. This can be achieved by making adjustments of some of the ethnic wedding customs, such as,
    1. High Maher amount
    2. Expensive parties in fabulous hotels instead of in an Islamic Center.

The benefits are:

  • Firstly it helps in obeying 14 Masoomeen's teaching of getting married at an early age to avoid sins, wrongdoings and falling into traps.
  • Secondly, it allows the newly-weds the opportunity to enjoy the life together at appropriate age without compromising career advancement. In addition, marriage, one of the most important event of life starts in Islamic environment which by itself brings blessings and happiness.

Q

Is it better to engage and then marry or do the Nikah or Mut'a and wait sometime before living together as husband and wife?

A

Engagement doesn't change the marital status; however, it should be honored as it is a sort of unwritten contract or letter of understanding. Since, it doesn't have Fiqhi binding, people break it comparatively easily. It is seen that during the period between engagement and Rukhsati, would-be couple engage in unislamic acts and prematurely talk about after-marriage plans. Since, they cannot comprehend the feelings of married life before marriage and of fatherhood/motherhood before having children, misunderstanding develops and results in breaking of engagement.


Q

What are the criteria for spouse selection?

A

Before starting the spouse selection process it is important to develop awareness of the rights and responsibilities and differences between the parties. According to Islam, men and women are equal in front of Allah (swt) but their status depends on their piety within the roles assigned to them.

  • The essential selection criterion for a man is to see whether his would-be wife has the potential/capability to train children effectively. Women being given this role and responsibility are exempted by Islam from the burden of working to earn the living. Therefore, a woman's concern would be to see, how responsible, committed and capable would-be husband is in meeting his married life responsibilities of earning.
  • Hence, the major selection criteria for both should be the knowledge and love of Islam with intelligence and commitment to meet the needs and if possible "wants" of worldly life.

Some of the "don'ts" of spouse-selection process are as follows:

  • Do not marry a polytheist (mushrik) and infidel (kafir). It is prohibited (haram).
  • Do not delay marriage without a valid reason.
  • Do not marry someone whose beliefs and deeds can drive you and/or your children away from the true Islamic teachings. {Islam explained by Ahlul Bayt (sa)}.
  • Do not marry someone solely for physical qualities that were not acquired by his/her ability and effort and are temporary in nature. However, these qualities, such as, color of skin, height, age-gap etc are personal preferences.
  • Avoid unIslamic and unnecessary spouse-selection criteria, such as Syed should marry only with Syed, specific profession etc. In other words, don't shut the door on opportunities.

Q

Is an "arranged marriage" not a way to deprive freedom of the would-be married couple?

A Islam takes a balanced approach by giving the right of final say, to the would-be couple. However, it encourages involvement of the parents in making an "arranged Introduction" because of their experience, their knowledge about their children's strengths and weakness and their love and deep concern for their children's happiness in their married lives. The parents' responsibility is to guide their children at an early age and try to prevent them in making a bad choice. A father's consent, based on valid Islamically sound reasons, not on his ego, is a must for his daughter who is getting married for the first time. This ruling safeguards a young girl from making a wrong decision because of her lack of experience in dealing with men.

Q

What is the significance of Mahar?

A Mahar, a token of caring and love, is an Islamic way of initiating the cycle of good gestures throughout married life between husband and wife. In keeping the spirit of Mahar, it should be paid as soon as possible, preferably, at the time of Nikah. The negative unislamic influence on Muslims has introduced the customs of "dowry" from bride's family that resulted in demands for large sum of money for Mahar. It is unfortunate that due to lack of real Islamic understanding Mahar is viewed as shelter for wife in case of divorce and bargaining chip for husband. This way of thinking reflects ignorance from the sublime values of Islam.

Q My mother asks me to marry with one of my cousins. To me all my cousins are like my sisters and brothers. Am I not right in saying so?
A If you don't like to marry your cousin, it is your decision. However, giving the reason that he/she is like your brother/sister is wrong. Islam has allowed marriage with cousins because unlike a brother or a sister, cousins are non-mahram. You have no right to change the ruling of Islam. You can't even touch or behave with your cousins as you are allowed to behave with your brothers/sisters.

Q What advice should a newly wed couple expect from their parents?
A

Some of typical advice is as follows:

  • For the bridegroom: Your wife has left her family for you. Let you and all of us and community make her feel at home.
  • For the bride: Your permanent home is your husbands' home and his relatives are your relatives. Make it heaven, by making needed adjustments, love, hard work and patience.

Q What are some of the proactive measures that can be taken to avoid unpleasant situation?
A For married couples, there are overwhelming reasons to remain happily married. However, no two persons can think alike; therefore, differences of opinion are bound to arise. The following are some of the ways to handle these kinds of issues:
  • Consider including a prenuptial agreement at the time of Nikah for something that is very important to you.
  • Remember that there are only two prominent languages in the world; one is of men and the other is of women. Time and willingness to compromise breaks this language barrier.
  • Apply the formulaeV (We)= I + I where both "I"s should BEND a little; abandon their egos and work together to extinguish the fire before it engulfs them and their loved ones.

 

     
   
     
   
     
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